Monday, February 23

2015 Restaurant Week Round-Up!

My favorite two weeks in February are also know as Chicago Restaurant Week when a variety of Chicago restaurants offer lunch menus for $22 or dinner menus for either $33 or $44. It's a great chance to check out restaurants that may not typically be in one's budget or to try something new.

Each year I read through all of the participating restaurant menus to find my must-try meals. This year was no different and after much deliberation, I decided on three meals:
  • Dinner at David Burke's Primehouse
  • Lunch at Travelle
  • Dinner at FIG & OLIVE
Continue reading to hear about my experiences!

David Burke's Primehouse

My first Restaurant Week meal landed the BF and me at David Burke's Primehouse located inside The James hotel. I had been to David Burke's for dinner with my family and didn't have the most stellar experience so I figured I'd give it a second chance. Besides, the BF had never been and steakhouses typically offer some of the best deals during Restaurant Week. The restaurant dry-ages its meats in a Himalayan salt-tiled aging room located on premise. Aging in this manner results in marbleized and tender beef.

The three course menu was $44 and included your choice of a starter, entree, and dessert. I knew I was definitely going to splurge on this meal and the BF must have had the same idea because we ordered the same exact thing. We both started with the wedge salad served in the traditional manner with a zesty blue cheese dressing and crumbles. It was rich, refreshing and perfectly savory.

Wedge Salad
The Restaurant Week menu included an 8 ounce filet accompanied with whipped potatoes and roasted mushrooms served family style. This was a great deal considering the price of the steak is typically more than the cost of the three course Restaurant Week menu. It was well-seasoned and had a nice slight char. The sides were pretty great as well, especially the decadent macaroni and cheese which we added to our meal.

Filet Mignon
Roasted Mushrooms & Whipped Potatoes
Mac 'n Cheese
Dessert consisted of a trio of bite-sized sweets. One of David Burke's signature desserts are their cheesecake lollipops which made an appearance in the trio. This was definitely the best bite of the three which also included a mini eclair and chocolate cake. Sadly the other two were dry and mediocre, which made me think dessert was just an afterthought.

Chocolate Cake, Cheesecake Lollipop, Eclair
Overall, I would give David Burke's Primehouse 3.5 ghosts out of five. While we enjoyed the salad, steak, and sides, the dessert and the rushed service left a bad taste in our mouth.


David Burke's Primehouse
616 N. Rush St.
Chicago, IL 60611
312.660.6000
David Burke's Primehouse on Urbanspoon

Travelle

My next Restaurant Week menu led me to a Saturday lunch with my friend Sharon at Travelle located inside the luxurious Langham Hotel. The River North hotel is absoultely stunning, as is Travelle's dining room which features huge windows with wonderful city views.

City View From the Dining Room
Dining Room
One of the coolest features of the restaurant is the kitchen which is enclosed in a transparent glass box. I loved how you could watch the chefs in action.

Dining Room
The dining room was rather packed for lunch which is no surprise considering the value of Travelle's Restaurant Week menu. $22 for three courses in a luxe atmosphere. Not too shabby! I kicked things off with a glass of bubbly which arrived in a stunning flute.

Prosecco
For her appetizer, Sharon ordered the chestnut soup with sherried pears and crab aioli. The soup was a beautiful color and included a nice portion of crab.

Chestnut Soup
I opted for the grilled octopus with bravas sauce and sofrito potato. The presentation was unique! I don't think I've ever been served a single tentacle when ordering octopus but it was nicely charred and I loved the potatoes with bravas sauce.

Grilled Octopus
The lunch menu included our choice of four entrees including risotto, chicken thigh, short rib, or poached cod. Sharon chose the braised short rib with green farro and caramelized pearl onion. The meat was well-cooked and fork tender. I can't say I've ever seen green farro before!

Braised Short Rib
For my entree, I chose the chile poached cod with Brussels sprouts and pine nut cream. If I had known this dish would sit in a pool of cream, I never would have ordered it. I wasn't a fan of the rich sauce but the fish was fresh and well-prepared. And I love Brussels sprouts, so that was a plus.

Chile Poached Cod
Lastly, we each ordered one of the two dessert options, a sour cherry pistachio tart, and Nutella baklava. The tart was less a tart and more of a cake. The cherry was bright and bold, both in flavor and color, and the whipped cream on top was delicious. I loved the Nutella baklava, especially because it came with a dollop of Nutella and some type of crispy chocolate brittle. My only complaint was that it wasn't bigger because I really enjoyed it!

Sour Cherry Pistachio Tart
Nutella Baklava
Our meal at Travelle was fantastic. The atmosphere and service were impressive, as was the overall value of their Restaurant Week menu. I'm giving Travelle 4.5 ghosts out of 5!


Travelle
330 N. Wabash
Chicago, IL 60611
312.923.7705
Travelle on Urbanspoon


FIG & OLIVE

My last Restaurant Week dining experience was a dinner with a group of girlfriends at FIG & OLIVE in the Gold Coast. FIG & OLIVE features olive oils, flavors, and cuisine from France, Italy, and Spain. The restaurant is huge and stunning and you instantly feel like you're somewhere in LA. Many of the walls are covered with shelves of olive oils, which we enjoyed sampling with housemade foccacia before our meal. The restaurant also features a variety of olive oils throughout dishes on its menu.

FIG & OLIVE offered its regular menu in addition to the Restaurant Week menu which was $44 for three courses. Our entire party opted for the Restaurant Week menu which included about five options for starters and entrees, and two options for dessert.

I started with the beef carpaccio topped with 18 year aged balsamic, tomato, Parmesan, micro arugula, and white truffle oil. The dish was beautifully plated, colorful and yummy! Other appetizer options included lobster bisque and the crowd-pleasing truffle mushroom croquettes!

Beef Carpaccio
Next, it was entree time. There were several options that made it nearly impossible to pick just one. the menu included a chicken tajine, paella del mar, branzino, and a filet mignon for a small surcharge. The chicken tajine included Moroccan-spiced chicken on top of couscous with cilantro and harissa, as well as colorful veggies including carrots, zucchini, tomatoes and onions.

Chicken Tajine
I chose the paella del mar that was absolutely delicious! I was impressed with the generous amount of fresh seafood including black tiger shrimp, scallops, calamari, and mussels. The bed of saffron rice was blended with chicken, peas, red pepper, and artichokes. The dish had so many layers of flavor and I loved the variety of seafood. Everyone who ordered the paella really enjoyed it. It was also a hearty portion of food, as was the chicken tajine.

Paella Del Mar
Lastly, we enjoyed dessert, which included our choice of two options, a chocolate pot de creme and a dessert crostini which was a pistachio shortbread with cherry and mascarpone. While the pot de creme had the potential to be nothing special, the quality of chocolate really elevated it in my mind. It was very rich and smooth and was accompanied by a praline financier topped with orange zest. It was also the perfect portion following my filling entree.

Chocolate Pot de Creme
I would definitely recommend a meal at FIG & OLIVE, especially if you're celebrating a special occasion or dining with a large group. The menu is quite large so there is something for everyone. A meal there is on the pricey side so the Restaurant Week menu offered great value. I'm giving FIG & OLIVE 4.5 ghosts out of 5!


FIG & OLIVE
104 E. Oak Street
Chicago, IL 60611
312.445.0060
Fig and Olive on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. The grilled octopus looks good- I miss takoyaki

    ReplyDelete

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